Paladin Energy Limited, whose subsidiary firm owns Kayelekera Uranium Mine (KM) in Karonga, has asked for a waiver on the expenditure commitment on the two recently granted EPLs.
The Mines Department has issued two new Exclusive Prospective Licences (EPLs) to dual-listed mining firm on Rukuru and Uliwa in Karonga with the remaining three still in the application stage.
The holder of an EPL has the sole right of prospecting for the mineral specified in the licence on the land, and in this case, uranium.
The department’s spokesperson Levy Undi was not immediately available yesterday to comment on the processing of the three remaining applications.
But in the quarterly activities report for the period ending June 30 2016, Paladin chief executive officer Alexander Molyneux said the waiver has been sought due to the ongoing care and maintenance at KM.
He said: “Exploration in the June quarter continued the surface geophysical surveys, stream sediment sampling and geological mapping previously undertaken in areas around the mine.
“Company processing of the regional geophysical data [radiometrics, magnetics and gravity] obtained from the government of Malawi is ongoing and is expected to aid in the generation of future exploration targets.”
KM was put on care and maintenance in February 2014 due to the drop in global spot price for uranium due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
The quarterly report shows that the average selling price for uranium on the global market is at $34.91 per pound, which has generated gross sales revenue of $63 million for Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM), which is also owned by Paladin.
The Trade Tech Weekly shows that spot price average for June quarter was $27.5 per pound and Paladin earlier indicated that it would open the mine once the price is in the ranges of $70 to $75 per pound.
In the report, Molyneux said quarterly activities at site focussed on the water treatment programme.
“The application for the renewal of the water discharge licence for 2016/17 was submitted to the Malawi Government on May 23 2016. Water treatment continued throughout the quarter with the lime water treatment plant ceasing operation on 30 June 2016.”
At June 30 2016, water inventories had reduced in the two major storage ponds with the tailings storage facility holding 26 percent of the recommended storage capacity.
“These dams are on track to reach their pre wet season targets and are well below the levels for the same period last year. Work continued during the quarter to improve storage capacity around the Champhanje Dam and to increase pumping capacities between storage ponds,” said the report.
Commenting on safety, the report said KM achieved 726 lost time injury (LTI) free days compared to LHM which sustained two LTIs during the quarter.